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Donegal - Weekend Trip
Discover Donegal - 1 Day Trip

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More Information

Read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about where to meet the group and what to bring.

Donegal Islands

Into the North-West.

Check out our Donegal Photos

Experience the uniqueness of North West Donegal where the ubiquitous red granite lies in perfect contrast to the golden sands, green pastures and aquamarine sea. We will base ourselves in Burtonport in the heart of this low hummocky landscape known as The Rosses. It is an intricate and intimate area of interwoven sea inlets and peninsulas where there is a secluded beach around every corner and all under the ever present backdrop of the magestic quartzite cone of An Eargail (Mt. Errigal). This maritime county has a long and deeply indented coastline where locally built and designed boats are much in evidence as they play a vital role linking its islands and communities.

Storm beach landing, Arainn Mhór, Co.Donegal.

Storm beach landing, Arainn Mhór, Co.Donegal.
In April, Donegal becomes the departure point for thousands of birds heading to Iceland, Greenland and the Arctic. The evocative calling of “Loons” glides across its waters. Geese congregate on its islands getting increasingly vocal as they anticipate their eminent hazardous migrations. Ducks, Waders, Thrushes and Buntings depart on both the day and night flights, their calls overhead attracting much attention. The area is throbbing with bird life and alive with their raucous cacophony as these birds prepare to head north west to breed and take advantage of the Arctic Summer's abundance of daylight and food. Meanwhile, April also sees the arrival of other welcome heralds of the Donegal Summer as the Corncrake , Cuckoo, Snipe and Swallow fill the islands with their distinctive sounds.

In September, seabirds of many species mass and feed off the Donegal coast. Birds from the Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and Iceland mix with Sooty and Great Shearwaters from the Southern Oceans. They are all feeding on the rich early autumn abundance of fish and plankton life offshore. They are not alone as several species of Whale, Dolphins and Turtles can also be found migrating through Donegal waters at this time.

On the islands and along the coastline, the many Arctic, Greenlandic and Icelandic birds that passed northwards in April are all returning. It is quite exciting to see ducks, geese, waders and song birds arrive back on the coast of Donegal often quite exhausted after major flights over open ocean. Many call excitedly as they near land and drop onto the Donegal coast to refuel on the shoreline, beaches, islands and estuaries. Many will spend the winter months in Ireland while others like the Arctic Tern will chase the sun southwards some even reaching the Antarctic pack ice before nature’s cycle begins again and they return next April.

Level of Proficiency

Most of these trips are suitable for kayakers who have achieved Level 2/3 Sea Kayak proficiency. However, if you are a beginner, do not despair! We have some Try Sea Kayak Days in our scheduled which are designed to cater for absolute beginners.

Weekend Trips

Red granite on Umphin Island, Co.Donegal.

Red granite on Umphin Island, Co.Donegal.
€320 Per Person.
This includes:
  • 2 full days at sea (10am – 4.20pm approx) under the care of expert guides with top class instruction in style/technique and natural history guiding.
  • Clients will be encouraged to practise their rescues and rolls and will be gently challenged if they wish.
  • Hire of all the necessary equipment - sea kayak, paddles, buoyancy aid, shortjohn wet suit, waterproof cag and spray deck.
  • 2 nights quality Bed and Breakfast accommodation, 2 packed lunches and dinner on Saturday evening in one of the local seafood restaurants.

Proposed Schedule

Arrive the previous evening and settle into Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Meet and greet over a wholesome meal in a local hostelry.

Day 1

Explore the Aranmore Group

Depart from our base in Burtonport and explore the islands of Inis Mhic an Doirn, Inis Cú, An tIochtar, An tOileán Leathan, Oileán na Lachan, Inis Fraoigh and many more. Traverse the channels between the innumerable islands and land on deserted beaches. Even though this is inshore kayaking in sheltered waters, it is a complex area of tidal movement which makes for an interesting day of kayaking where many new skills will be absorbed and learned.
After a day on the water, relax and wind down at a homely Bed and Breakfast and enjoy a satisfying meal at a local hostelry.
Day 2

Cruit, Oileántraigh and Owey

Depart Kincaslagh Quay. Land on Inís Oileántraigh before slowly easing our way north towards the impressive rock architecture on Ceann Chruite. Experience the power of the ocean as we explore caves, sea stacks and arches sculpted by the sea over millennia. If weather conditions allow, we will continue across Owey Sound and come ashore in the perfectly protected narrow natural harbour with its renowned stepped slipway. This was the crossing for which the traditional Donegal paddling currach was built by Owey Island postman Andy McGonagle. Like many other Irish islands, Owey could not sustain itself and was finally evacuated in 1980. Today, many of the descendants have reclaimed their ancestral homes and are in the process of renovating them for Summer use. If the weather Gods are good to us, we may even get an opportunity to explore the mighty eastern cave systems for which Owey or Uaigh (cave) is famous.


Please select a trip below to book:
Sat 13th Apr 19 - Sun 14th Apr 19 

Group discounts available. Self catering option available by request. If you wish to bring along a group, contact us to discuss by email at info@shearwaterseakayaking.ie

Discover Donegal 1 Day Trips

Suitable for those who have achieved a Level 2/3 Sea Proficiency.

Red granite on Umphin Island, Co.Donegal.

Red granite on Umphin Island, Co.Donegal.
€95 Per Person.


10am - 4pm

Discover the treasure trove of deserted islands that lie between Burtonport, Aranmore and Owey Islands. Traverse the tidal flows, land on golden beaches or amidst the red granite cuts and chasms. Sense the passage of time as we explore the evocative ruins. Whichever route we choose, you will have an opportunity to develop new skills whilst at the same time appreciating the wildlife and enjoying the majestic coastal scenery along this north west frontier.

All trips weather dependent.


Please select a trip below to book:
We're sorry - all of our Donegal Islands 1 Day trips have already taken place. However, we're constantly organising new trips so keep an eye on the website as it is regularly updated.
Group discounts available. Self catering option available by request. If you wish to bring along a group, contact us to discuss by email at info@shearwaterseakayaking.ie